Category Archives: Debt

Declutter of Meaningless Associations — There is Only Time For What is Important to You

I am not friends with 99.8% of the people I went to high school with and that is a subjective fact.  As a 31 year-old Millennial dad I find myself only having about three or four  real friends in my life at any one point in time, and I think that calculation is great! This understanding is kind of an amazing thing to consider; it’s beautiful, I love it.  I smile more.  Less of a crowd to impress, less to persuade or be a spectacle for, or to simply agree with to avoid conflict.  Gossip did that, so did a minimalist mindset. 

Moreover, I lost most of my “friends” about two years ago, around election time, around the time I realized that I didn’t necessary absolutely agree with being one of the progressive/regressive herd, or what was said on CNN or Facebook or Twitter et al. and on the mainstream news–which is everything and everywhere.  You could say I like diversity of thought.  At that time, I found myself realizing there is only time for what is important:  MY  individual  beliefs and goals.  I had to declutter my personal life of excess, so I made a plan and followed through.  It just involved being my true self and being able to walk away from things I did not need while amassing more of the essential things necessary to making my future better.  

One is aWOKEn quickly when there are mouths to feed that none of your so-called friends, the ones who don’t really do anything in a give-and-take relationship, will be putting lunch on the table or give you positive ideas and motivations or pay your credit card or student loan debt.  (Not only do they not do those things for you but YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET THEIR APPROVAL TO DO YOUR LIFE.)  I don’t expect them to, but they don’t expect you to either.  That lack of vision and support is stagnation, there needs to be positive diversity of thought in all situations.  Further, those friends may tell you big ideas and wallow, that is anitmotivational.  They may tell you they aspire but don’t have motivation or action to try, that is pro-sedentarism and takes you nowhere.  You could have mannequins around you giving thumbs up and they would do more for your self care purposes.

Realizing this is important: you make you.  Realizing it’s just you and what you make of life is key to the success you find in your life.  Friends I have lost have offered commiseration for a period of time and were necessary, approval that it is acceptable to be subpar.  Not anymore.  I declutter my basement and I declutter my friends.  I don’t need excuses or malarkey from people around me, I need action and awareness and planning, which are qualities some people my age may lack–especially the loudest ones with the biggest dreams and even bigger fingers to point at everyone but themselves.  However, I would agree some people do have these winning qualities and that is a HUGE positive, and they are close to me.  (The quiet ones with winning qualities get to work with their hands and their brains and not their mouths.)  I may be callus and I may be calculated, but only God can judge me perhaps. 

Accordingly, after reading and taking in much Brian Tracy and Dave Ramsey and documentaries on minimalism, I want role models around me, I want people who are flawed that come out better than when they started, human ones, empathetic: ones that make mistakes and come out better by experience.  I want quality not quantity.  I don’t need a bunch of virtue-signalists around me waiting for their big break.  I am flawed but I am striving for better for myself and my family and my future.  I am in debt but I have a plan to become a millionaire if I simply follow that plan. 

Everyone is flawed, so what?  I want to make tomorrow better for those I find around me and myself, so do I complain and blame or make change?  A better me means a better you for all of us.  In the past, perhaps that might have been not so, and I wondered who was around me at that point in time, what encouragement creates.  Which support systems and rules did I follow to get here or there?  Realizing that debt was controlling my life, my work, and my freedom at every moment was important to realizing I needed less of some things and more of others.  That was a great lesson but it would have never been learnt had I not been to the bottom or experienced hardships.  We find ourselves cleansing in times when we feel impure, we find ourselves taking a shower to wash clean our bodies and start new days.  I am cleansing of my student loans of credit card debt to be completely free, that is a part of this metamorphosis.  

We can think on the positive aspects of any negative situation and learn from them and and grow from them.  Every hardship or struggle or tragedy we face is a moment to learn, to come back stronger and better and more equipped to manage the world around you in the future.  We can do this with anything: friends, debt, ideology, religion, identity, etc.  Those are the times we live in; you can be a bobcat, a dinosaur, or an astronaut.

When I have a problem that I can’t solve I wait for a new day and think it over again, new thought may come my way.  This is a new day.  You have a new day now too.  Today I find myself marveling at quality not quantity.  I have friends I truly laugh with daily, truly care about constantly.  I have friends who are thoughtful and listen.  I have friends who hear my ideas and do not judge me for my honesty.  I see that with a plan and positive thinkers around me I can make it, or I can make it by myself with positive thought. 

I believe anyone can make it irregardless of everything.  I don’t have to believe that the world is ending because the television tells me so.  Or that we are going to hell because 100 % of half of the scientists in the smart part of town agree generally speaking on Headline News.  I can believe in the church but not believe in God.  I can believe that Texas Toast is made in Ohio.  I don’t have to hate a politician because everyone else does and says that I must too.  This is America!  I don’t have to show intolerance to those who I don’t agree with and then ask for tolerance from everyone around me so I can look good in my social circles, or on social media.  I can be kind all on my own, to all without being prompted.  Maybe my social circle is broken and that is tolerance.  Maybe forget social media.  Nothing is complete, except for death, probably. 

And if you agree with that and more, then that is perfectly fine, that is so.  You may just be my new friend, like at the beginning.  Perfect, right?  Well, I hope not.  Perfect is complete, ended, finished, dead.  This is just the beginning.  Maybe you will open up and cleanse yourself of the clutter you don’t need, tying you down.  You are all right with that and I am too.  Being all right is good, but it’s not the best.  You don’t have to and shouldn’t be perfect.  I am nowhere near perfect either.  Neither is this idea or this written piece, it’s fluid abstract and important and not and open to new ideas.  Though, I find myself closer to making change daily and seeing where that takes me, with or without every other individual around me who agrees or doesn’t and doesn’t change themselves or have to anyway because of it. 

There is an old saying about who needs friends, but ever better would be saying who needs you?  You NEED YOU.  Those you love NEED YOU.  They NEED YOU TO BE OPEN MINDED AND POSITIVE AND READY TO MAKE CHANGE not complaint.  I think YOU NEED YOU, too, the most because I know I need me the most too.  

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TS_ 

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In the Time it Took for you to Talk About It

About halfway through a long-winded conversation about unfounded and baseless dreams, like most other listeners, I find myself having trouble listening.  We live in a culture where it is a good thing to have big dreams, but not a good thing to have realistic plans or have attainable goals.  That’s weird, because you can do anything you plan to do.

Dreaming is a grand activity, a fantastical practice, a fantasy envisioned, and absolutely not real or tangible.  However our dreams are powerful tools.  We dream about wanting something, attaining our desires, then we talk about achieving it, how it would be!  But there is no goal, no pathway to walk directly to it and take.  We are stuck in the talking about it and that is about it.

So, in the time we listen, in the time it took for you to talk about it you could have written up a plan to go and make and create and have.  Made a step A through finished, fruition, success, completion.  I will attempt to listen though I would rather pull out pen and paper and set things in motion to help you do what you want to do, to help you become the dream master.

I am not therapist, not counselor, I am an ordained minister by request, though I feel I could charge for giving advice about planning.  But I learned it for free in books.  Just make a goals list each day and complete those goals.  I do this because it is simple: nothing happens without being planned.  I heard recently: there is no happenstance.  Imagine.  I think you should stop talking and make plans, you should do and show.  Save the tell.

A Vote for Democrats as a Public-Sector Union Member may be a Misguided Vote

On the ballot in Minnesota are two items that public-sector union members should consider very closely when/if voting straight Democrat in the 2018 Midterms: 1) Single-Payer Healthcare and 2) $15 Minimum Wage. These items are directly contradictory of the hard work that has been done to fight for your benefits and your living wage as a public-sector union member, let me explain my thoughts on these two items and how they could be undoing recent accomplishments of public-sector unions.

  • $15 minimum wage for all does not increase your living wage as a public-sector union member, in fact, it may make your wage less livable, more futile. It may also reduce the number of employees in the local workforce, triggering more unemployment, in order to make up for increased wages paid without increased profits earned. This does not benefit you as a public-sector union member and it does not benefit your community. Many Democrat candidates champion $15 minimum wage as a good thing with little evidence to prove their point, it is already being implemented in St Paul, MN (one example of concern about Minimum Wage locally); recently, perhaps, jobs have gone, businesses have and will close and move elsewhere in lieu of this policy change. These items impact us all. Here is a resource on Minimum Wage.
  • A Single-Payer Healthcare System implementation is an item of considerable speculation, ambiguity, and concern. If you have good healthcare/insurance now, one your union fought hard for to attain, perhaps you can kiss that benefit goodbye under Democrats who want a Single-Payer Health Care System. What’s more, not only could a Single-Payer Healthcare System give you theoretical universal healthcare and take away your unique healthcare plan, one based on your individual needs, one that fits you, but it could increase the taxes for you and your community–keep in mind Minnesota has the fifth highest tax burden in the nation, currently. Could you afford to go on a plan that isn’t built for you precisely and that may cost you more? I don’t think I could, and we are all different with special and unique healthcare needs. And what is the quality of Single-Payer Healthcare and is making it mandatory for all even constitutional? I have just a few questions on this topic, you should as well. I am open-minded. Here is a resource on Medicare for All.

These items, and the policies related to them, concern me as a public-sector union member, as a taxpayer, as a dad, as a husband and as a voter, especially when the rhetoric is at a fever pitch and the focus is on what President Trump does personally on Twitter or how bad he is or was as a person or ubiquitous smear campaigns against both political parties and not on actual government policy that change things for you and I and ours.

These policies are paramount to all. But do we all understand them entirely? Do we understand he Bill of Rights or the Constitution? I am not sure I do. Further, do we vote because we hate something or someone, or because we love something or someone, or their ideas are good? Do we vote for what was benign in the past, what might have worked out OK for that moment, or do we move forward and vote for ideas that work for the future, our future?

The items mentioned above, even though mere rhetoric, could have grave impacts on wages and benefits and communities actually. Think about that when you vote, it does matter.

Moreover, when you vote in the upcoming midterm election, don’t think about the party or something far away or some big ideas or some boilerplate talking point, think about your pocketbook, think about the Constitution, think about the law, the Bill of Rights, small changes for positive, and think about your local situation, good or bad, and how you can improve on it. You have the opportunity to say you want better, your voice is your vote. That thought and decision and voice on who you vote for will impact you most. That and recall, maybe the party that claims to represent your public-sector union vociferously is not the party that represents you personally.

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Tim Walz is for Higher Taxes in Minnesota and those Taxes are Absolutely Necessary

It’s a fact that Minnesota has the 5th highest tax burden in America, yet we could have the highest tax burden in the country if we elect more Democrats. We could be number one. I believe that is what we must do. That is why I believe we must vote for Tim Walz, because a vote for Tim Walz is a vote for higher necessary taxes.
Remember the above stated fact whilst placing your votes in November. We are not the highest taxed state in our country: four other states outdo us in paying higher taxes. We must show our country that we can and will pay more in taxes for what is right. Tim Walz is absolutely the candidate to make it happen, he already proposed adding a gas tax to Minnesotan’s taxes, and many other tax hikes. To do better we need to vote for Tim Walz who will raise our taxes greatly, regardless.
In conclusion, we must pay higher taxes to make Minnesota the highest taxed state in America. Big government has a “buy now” price, Tim Walz is ready and willing with our pocketbooks. Let’s not wait. We must keep Minnesota progressive no matter the heavy cost. That is why, in November, I am willing to pay my fair share with higher taxes imposed by Tim Walz and the Democrats. I am willing to look good and pay more by voting for the Democratic party exclusively. I hope you consider this option and do that same.

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How spontaneously getting involved in a Grassroots Political Campaign helped me discover the most important thing in the world, let me explain

I am going to tell you what the most important thing in the world is in this post, are you ready?  Accordingly, by the time you are done reading this post you will have learned one of the most important concepts that there is to learn in life, it will feel good.  You will be improved and feel positive.  Let me start with by saying, I found this valuable idea by volunteering for a political party, doing grassroots campaign calls and giving surveys in my spare time.  That is where I found this important idea and why I want to share it with you.

I have never been more excited to share something that wasn’t a sales pitch.  Do you ever get this line from people?  I digress…  That is not what this essay is about, it’s about talking with random strangers on the phone about random strangers who may in a sense rule them and getting something actually human out of it.  Our country is divided into how many parties and there are people out there talking on the phone and reading scripts and sharing ideas.  (And people listen!)  Voice interaction, the old calling someone up and saying “Hello, is (person’s name) there?…  Mind answering a few questions???”

Calling, communicating, asking questions, these things leave an impression.  Impressions are called impressions because they they are pressed on the brain, indelibly hard to forget.  (When someone thinks their ideas matter that makes them feel good.)  I give them a name, tell them more names–familiar recognition, and even if they don’t want to speak to me or take the survey, they hear kindness and associate that kindness with me, with that party.  They hear my voice, some moniker that is a very familiar one–like John or Dan, and they remember that encounter at the voting booth.

For starters, I believe that is what this nameless grassroots campaign wants to happen.  I have read a few books on persuasion, and I realize that unforgettable first impression is exactly what they want to happen.  Blank canvas, hello, think, names, ok, yes, goodbye.  However, it can be difficult; cold callers have the hardest jobs out there because voices give away everything.  Nervousness, confidence, snark.  It’s not a Facebook post, it’s an interaction, in real-time.  The campaign manager wants to be blurt out the names as fast as I can, new names, old names, take a survey, etc.  Think on those memorable names.  And after that, I am surprised people say “yes” because I often say “no” to such surveys.

Remember, this is important.  Doing things in your free time for what you believe in is important, whether that be getting your candidate elected or helping to mentor someone in literacy.  Doing a social experiment for science is important, getting into politics or marketing with persuasion is important.  Going above and beyond a Facebook post or an ad-hoc spectacle or holding a sign proves that you realistically want to do something to make change, like, perhaps writing legislature.  (We’ve all been there.)

Sure, we can all make waves in a group, that is impressive as well, yet we can get carried away from what is deep within our hearts as individuals.

I thought about my little social experiment and it doesn’t matter the party, it doesn’t matter the ideas because they are all for political effect; insomuch as Thomas Sowell said about “rent control”, in Basic Economics:  I paraphrase, it’s all hot button issues, that’s it.  But aside from the hot button political issues, in the end the underdog is the ultimate American.  The one that believes in their values when the popular majority throws them out and calls them dogs, doubts them infinitely.  That is the time when believing in yourself and doing what other people call “stupid”, “idiotic” or “wrong” on social media is the most important.

In conclusion, the most important thing is to do what is most important to you, not what’s important to everyone else and what they think about it.  Don’t worry about a sea of vehement passionists screaming accolades so you fall in line, or shaming you so you steer off course.  Stick to your plan.  Believe in your goals.  Believe in yourself.  If you can change the political color of a state, or someone’s mind, and not need to feel endorsed by everyone with their Twitter likes or their Insta-approval then it means that you are doing something right and that is important.  Even hearing “No, I would not like to take your survey…” is important because that person is telling you how they feel and making a point for what matters to them.  That is the most important thing in the world.

More information:  https://ballotpedia.org/Minnesota_elections,_2018

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BREAKING NEWS: No Study Ever finds that your Life is Fated by Pennies, People, and Problems

This week has changed my life. Events unfolded and I became apart of the solution. This fix took up a week, and a majority of my time allotted for other projects. But the things I did learn through experience taught me one thing– oh, and finding pennies and Easter Eggs throughout let me know that I was where I was supposed to be, like everyone else is–it taught me to take it as it comes. Be where I am when I am right here right now.

Firstly, events take place, happen, go down, and unfold beyond our humanly control. (I read a tweet about this: worry is a waste of time, the past is the past, we cannot worry about things we cannot change, etc.) I understand I cannot change the past I can only change the future, hopefully. In this new “special project” I have found that positivity is the only way to move forward together. We must move onward positively together. Getting down or bummed or saddened about something will only hamper your forward progress.

Secondly, everywhere I went this week I was met with a smile–or by the end of the meeting, a smile had fixed a frown or a grimace, at least in most cases. Furthermore, I kept finding pennies placed throughout my experiences. I got lost, found a penny. Someone needed me to do an alternative task, I found a penny. At the train station, found a penny. In this, I don’t believe pennies are lucky. But if I find a lot of pennies, a lot of pennies add up. Or maybe god is buying me a beer, I have no way to knowing. Also, these finds act like checkpoints for my life. Look for your pennies and you will see dollars. Then retrace your steps along that path, how did you come by three cents?! WOW! 🙂

The most important part to all of this is the worry factor. I read this last night, for a moment. The last few days, I saw people worried, upset, and frustrated. I stayed calm. I have no idea how. I just stayed calm and collected. Because it is how we act during times of uncertainty that matter most. (Someone famous said that, or something similar). Beyond the stress, the unpredictability, I was learning something unique, something new. Something different. It didn’t matter what; but if you are doing something different from your regular routine, you are learning something new. Remember that in a shitty situation that you have never had to deal with before.

Some people could say their week was a wash, many others could call it a major success. And the point here is, this is every week, could be every moment. They did something. They made something happen. The reason this contrast is important is because we can see life in this way every day, or in another way. One day it is shit. One day it is good. Four letters, two different ideas completely. Why can’t they all be good? Why can’t we make it as such? And I think we can. Thought I would share.

You have made it here, right where are you are supposed to be. Now go look for your pennies.

Millennials, Strive for that Perfect Selfie because You will Never get out of Debt and You Will Never own Your Own Home Responsibly

“The more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

“The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

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The headline you just read is what I think to myself when I realize I shouldn’t spend money and should save for my future interests, especially when my contemporaries scroll social media and see how others are living large and in charge and strive to be just like them.

(Firstly, social media is an affirmation to spend more money, and waste more time.  Do you have it in you?)

I am pretty sure the people around me are concerned about my one point of obsession, my now goal: paying off all of my debt. My motivation being: Because I am a slave to debtors, credit card companies own me, my student loans own me, I really don’t exist freely…  What keeps me going in this direction:  Good reasons.

Good reasons:  Some day I will own my own house, responsibly–not through some insane mortgage.  Some day I will be out of debt, entirely: zero debt.  Some day I won’t have to work every day to pay my bills, no worries.  I will retire with dignity.  And again, those around me will benefit from my now goals, from my relatively insane efforts, from sacrifices I make.

These sacrifices are easier than the alternative for me, of living in debt for the rest of my life, chipping away at what I one minimum payment, all that high interest at a time.  That is stupid.  That is something that could use distractions!

It’s hard and easy for me to imagine that there is a world out there stranded glaring into their phones at millions of other people acting out their fantasies–Millennials et al., taking photos, images of a luxury lifestyle that is nothing more than made up. IT DOES NOT EXIST.

Imagine if we could get paid for that time spent glaring at other people’s dreams… We’d all be as rich as Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Buffet, Steve Jobs, or Donald Trump.

I really shouldn’t care about the setting or the background or how long it took for another person to get that perfect photo, the perfect selfie, and all those likes, although it worries me. I care, imagine.  That is my philanthropy for the day: caring.

(Your debt is that train in the “perfect selfie” video above, maybe doing the same to you as you read.  Stay off of those tracks that lead you, or the future you, into imminent danger.)

The first thing I think about when I see pictures of people doing AMAZING things is, how much debt does that person actually have, credit cards, student loans, etc.? I know, it’s none of my business, but for science…  Then I wonder, does all that debt add up to contrived happiness, the happiness in that picture, imagines on a screen, unfocused a distracted ephemera of fleeting feeling… Does it come from that?

(A hobby of imagining your existence is entirely different from what it is?  Doing this doesn’t cause change, it avoids it.)

And we compare ourselves to those counterfeit images, those freewheeling fantasies, those nice narrative and salacious story lines… Am I as good as that other person’s selfie?  No, no, I am not… Should I be spending more money, should I be buying into this false pretense?  Do I give a shit?

Then I vanish from social media and that apathetic society that we all pay to join in some way or another. I vanish because we all should and walk back into the deep woods to find our inner animal selves, or into a deep sleep.  Beasts called gentlemen in suits and ties pretending to be anything other than ourselves.

(When we die our Facebook us’s keep on living.  Is that me?  For example, my father died four years ago in June and he unfriended me on Facebook a couple of years after that.  He is virtually still alive, however he is physically dead.  I don’t know if he sleeps anymore.  I cannot visit his grave because my reality does not understand this sort of paradox.  Social media creates dead and living zombies right now.  Imagine.)

So, yes, back to the beginning, you will never get out of debt or own your own home, responsibly–without insane lenders and bad deals, if you keep this up.  That is what I tell myself and then avoiding those distractions becomes very easy for me. You as in me.

Forget your likes, upvotes, retweets, highlights from whatever years ago, virtual memories, Facebook lives, and other people’s selfies, they evoke no artistic value whatsoever (or maybe they do: this mini-essay tho.).  Think about what you owe that credit card company, what you owe in student loans? Try to smile now, make that art, Picasso. Get that photo sing.  Real good job.  Create those American Dreams.